Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

+ - The Rise of Wagnerian Science [corr]->

Submitted by TheRealHocusLocus
TheRealHocusLocus (2319802) writes "Just encountered Negative Results are Disappearing from Most Disciplines and Countries [2011] from master lexicographer Daniele Fanelli, whose 2009 work on scientific misconduct was covered on Slashdot. He finds "the proportion of papers that, having declared to have tested a hypothesis, reported a full or partial support has grown by more than 20% between 1990 and 2007." Does this mean that as a species, we are becoming better at guessing — or are there other forces at work?

One thing that jumped at me in Fanelli's paper [Fig 3, p7] was the smoothness of this progression for the US authors, as compared with other countries. Richard Feynman noted "The thing that doesn't fit is the thing that's most interesting." Are we seeking those things? Newton was almost right. Bereft of rigorous testing to invalidate popular hypotheses, would we be likely to notice "negative results" such as the disparities that led into quantum mechanics, today? Or would they be swept under the rug of selective funding and implied consensus?

Years ago when listening to The Ring I found myself switching the turntable to 78rpm to complete the Cycle in a few hours — its musical sentiment was soo obvious and I "see" where it was going. Science should embody more Contrapunctus, a fugue where negative and positive entwine in a thoughtful dance. Writing this summary I must endeavor not to relate this to climate science. Oops."

Link to Original Source

+ - The Rise of Wagnerian Science->

Submitted by TheRealHocusLocus
TheRealHocusLocus (2319802) writes "Just encountered Negative Results are Disappearing from Most Disciplines and Countries [2011] from master lexicographer Daniele Fanelli, whose 2009 work on scientific misconduct was covered on Slashdot. She finds "the proportion of papers that, having declared to have tested a hypothesis, reported a full or partial support has grown by more than 20% between 1990 and 2007." Does this mean that as a species, we are becoming better at guessing — or are there other forces at work?

One thing that jumped at me in Fanelli's paper [Fig 3, p7] was the smoothness of this progression for the US authors, as compared with other countries. Richard Feynman noted "The thing that doesn't fit is the thing that's most interesting." Are we seeking those things? Newton was almost right. Bereft of rigorous testing to invalidate popular hypotheses, would we be likely to notice "negative results" such as the disparities that led into quantum mechanics, today? Or would they be swept under the rug of selective funding and implied consensus?

Years ago when listening to The Ring I found myself switching the turntable to 78rpm to complete the Cycle in a few hours — its musical sentiment was soo obvious and I "see" where it was going. Science should embody more Contrapunctus, a fugue where negative and positive entwine in a thoughtful dance. Writing this summary I must endeavor not to relate this to climate science. Oops."

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Beware the 'Metadata' straw man (Score 1) 73

by TheRealHocusLocus (#47907065) Attached to: NSA Metadata Collection Gets 90-Day Extension

[$2000] you have no idea what you are talking about

Yeah I did pick that out of my backside, could have added a couple of zeroes. But hmm...

If every one of the 700 million currently assigned numbers in North America makes 3 calls an hour on average, that's ~1.5 trillion call records per month. Plus duration and a bit of geolocation data if available, we're only interested in unique number queries (not ranges) so keys are hashable, no strings, write once read forever... this is really a best case database.

Yup, need to add a zero to buy the disk space. $20,000. Add another zero for a cloudlike platform with several years' data that's not down a third of the time for record maintenance.

Comment: This has been tried before... (Score 0) 29

by TheRealHocusLocus (#47900875) Attached to: DARPA Funds Harvard's Soft Exoskeletal Suit

But nature always finds a way. Teeth become stronger and sharper to pierce the hide directly, armored gullets and crops evolve to subject swallowed prey to slow grinding until the hide is pierced and the juices leak out. Suction arms pin the prey to rock as a horny beak drills through the exoskeleton. Birds lift the prey into the sky and let gravity do the hard work, gathering the yummy bits from the wreckage.

The military should be focusing its research on making soldiers better at hiding, smelling and tasting really bad.

Comment: Beware the 'Metadata' straw man (Score 5, Insightful) 73

by TheRealHocusLocus (#47900819) Attached to: NSA Metadata Collection Gets 90-Day Extension

Fuck you and fuck no!

That's the spirit. Things have got to change, But first, you gotta get mad!

All of this furor is over call and subscriber data being sent to the NSA directly on a regular basis. If I wanted to build a computer platform capable of storing and doing queries on this information for the whole United States I could probably assemble one off the shelf for a couple grand.

I would not need a water-cooled data center in Utah, centrally located so you can lease dark fiber to carry multiple terabit streams into it. Among other data centers in other parts of the country which are in planning, already constructed, or just manage to stay under the radar because they were built from the black ops budget. I would not need secret agreements (negotiated voluntarily or by threat) with service providers to tap and split optic cables.

This issue of NSA bulk metadata collection is a straw man, a distraction to divert attention from NSA's full content backbone tapping capability. It is a little duck set loose for Congress to shoot down, so they can hold up the dead duck as they pose for a group photo, leaning on their rifles.

The horrifying truth is -- if and when, possibly now -- NSA has enough backbone taps in place, they would already have access to this data that is being sent to them. In the modern world there are but a few major telecoms and their call data converges at central billing and collection points. The telecoms would gladly keep these links unencrypted or leave the keys in the mailbox for a nudge nudge wink wink absolving them of public ire.

Even the judges are stalking this duck and believe me, they are relieved when the topic of conversation fixes on call data rather than bulk content interception. That is because there is legal precedent for law enforcement collection of so-called 'pen trace data' without warrants, and they have a leg to stand on.

I'll serious money that if YOU were to ask any member of Congress a very specific and impeccably worded question about bulk content collection and backbone taps, you would get a clumsy response about call metadata. And move on to the next question. It is that insidious.

NSA has crossed the line. It needs to be completely disbanded, its secret assets colocated at Tier 1 and Tier 2 exchanges completely disconnected, dismantled and sold at auction. Its employees sent home. Or we're all fucked.

LYNCHPIN of warrantless spying: Hepting v. AT&T
Clap on! Clap off! Clapper's PRISM DISINFO Gambit
RAISE CONGRESS, while you still can!
A fable: NSA and the Desolation of Smaug

Comment: Re:Who would have thunk (Score 1) 194

by TheRealHocusLocus (#47897143) Attached to: The Documents From Google's First DMV Test In Nevada

A. A railroad crossing without signals
B. A roundabout
C. Construction work
D. "Some specific turns"

As it approached the railroad crossing the Google Car coasted almost to a halt, at ~1% of full power. This was due to an excess 'poisoning' of Xenon-135, a persistent condition that was generally understood but specifics directly relating to operational safety at low power had not been addressed. At this point conditions for the driving test were inherently unfavorable and dangerous. Tuptunov sensed this, but he lacked the knowledge, vocabulary and resolve to communicate this to Dyatlov -- who ordered the car to be driven manually over the crossing.

This led them into the roundabout, where a single path to the destination exists but the Google Car was not configured to confidently know how and when to exit. The automated systems drove the car in circles for several minutes in low gear at high RPM. The car was still in a state of equilibrium and would eventually have allowed the excess Xenon to absorb neutrons and decay to Xenon-136, which has a much smaller cross-section. But again Dyatlov was impatient for the test to complete and he was getting dizzy, so he ordered to withdraw all but six of the control rods and manually lurch the car into the turnoff.

At this point the car was screaming at full RPM in low gear as it approached the Construction Zone, lurching and swaying. The operators knew they were in some sort of trouble, but the Google Car jerked forward automatically until it spotted the red cones and barricades. It disengaged to manual control and Tuptunov slapped the vehicle into its lowest possible gear. Under normal conditions this engine-assisted braking procedure was the best possible course of action. But the pistons and rods were tipped with graphite which causes a temporary neutron flux when inserted, which escalated power and deformed the rods.

At this point things in general took "some specific turns" for the worse.

Comment: Isn't that enough? (Score 1) 288

by Okian Warrior (#47895475) Attached to: California Declares Carpooling Via Ride-Share Services Illegal

I know everyone is all over Uber and and the other one because the cars are "nicer" and the service "better" than cabs. But [...]

Um... isn't that enough?

Firstly, you're wrong about the liability.

Secondly, you are confusing the possibility of injury with its probability.

If the probability of injury is small and the cost of injury is also appreciably small, the expected cost of using Lyft or Uber may be much less than the expected cost of using a cab.

For an example, if a ride-share is $6 less than a cab fare, and if there is an average of 1 injury every 100,000 rides, then if the average injury costs less than $600,000 then it's a better deal for everyone to use the ride share.

Using this reference, cabs crash about once every 300,000 miles.

Also note, the number of crashes in regular driving has decreased dramatically over the last few years, probably due to increased safety measures in vehicles and modern roadway improvements (Denver Barriers around bridge supports, for example).

And in any event, most people have health insurance. At the very least, a significant portion of riders would have health insurance - enough to reduce the risk by a further factor of four or more.

SHELL GAME is where you can't win. CASINO GAME is where the odds are against you. Uber and Lyft seem to be decidedly in the passenger's favor.

Cue the irrational fearmongering reply: "unless you are the one injured, then how would you feel!".

Comment: Have we lost judicial oversight? (Score 3, Interesting) 288

by Okian Warrior (#47895361) Attached to: California Declares Carpooling Via Ride-Share Services Illegal

Apropos of nothing, when did we allow unelected regulators complete authority over the law?

It seems that every regulator now has the authority to declare something illegal, judge that an infraction has occurred, assess fines, and force collection.

If someone is in violation of a regulation, shouldn't the regulator present their evidence before a judge? Don't we want an unbiased 3rd party to chime in on whether the law is clear, whether the evidence merits a violation, and whether there are extenuating circumstances?

The policy of default judgement by fiat, with a "go to court to reverse it if you think you've been wronged" is a recipe for injustice and corruption.

When did we lose judicial oversight of our regulations? Did it happen slowly, or was it a sudden change?

Comment: Re:Obviously. (Score 1) 291

by TheRealHocusLocus (#47889953) Attached to: Link Between Salt and High Blood Pressure 'Overstated'

If, 150 years ago, the average life expectancy was 30-40 years, but the average human level of general health in those 30-40 years was better than the same in the first 30-40 years of modern humans's lives, then you could say that something we did back 150 years ago was better and we were healthier and living well on whatever we were doing.

I believe that 150 years ago you were 'healthier'... IF:

1. you didn't live in a big city, OR were upriver. This in the time before water distribution networks with chlorine treatment and build-out of sanitary sewer projects, sewage treatment to help the poor folk downriver to avoid cholera. This is not strictly geographic. Thanks to some awesome engineering New York City is now 'upriver' because of their aqueducts.

2. you did not succumb as a child to smallpox or malaria. Vaccine and antibiotics kick ass here. I would also like to give a shout-out to my bud dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane a.k.a. DDT who cleared malaria out of the southern US states. Completely. The ongoing tragedy of malaria-affected children today is being marginalized by folks who parrot ddtcancerbad but fail to apply historic perspective to the (irresponsibly) massive amount that was used for agriculture and the (small) amount required for effective mosquito control.

For example, chlorine kills, but 1-3 parts per million of it placed in your drinking water... so long as the treatment plant properly filters organic material to discourage formation of trihalomethanes... just saved your life.

3. your teeth were ok through adulthood and when they became diseased you yanked 'em out quick. Gingivitis and its slow poisoning is a true killer. I think there are many people in a poorer general state of health today because their dentists are trying to "save" their teeth.

4. you did not have one of the (far fewer then) occupations that allowed you to sit more than half the day. These days a good percent sits while awake, working or Internet or television. I think this, more then obesity, is a death sentence. We were not evolved to sit! You don't have to pump iron or run Marathons. Just don't sit down!

There, some Significant Factors that do not include salt or fat or blood pressure or food quality.

Comment: Science at its best (Score 1) 291

by Okian Warrior (#47881311) Attached to: Link Between Salt and High Blood Pressure 'Overstated'

The debate on this issue is far from over, and it'll take years to sort out all the contradictory evidence.

Once again, science is reduced to debate and belief. Medicine is rife with these sorts of "schools of thought"(*), it's almost as bad as economics. This is not the "more refined theory supplants approximate theory" that one finds in, for example, physics. It's "yeah, this looks good and makes sense, so we're 'gonna go with it" science.

This is what allows vested interests to decry science in favor of their own agenda. Who is the average person supposed to trust when scientists keep making and overturning bad conclusions, in the face of authority figures pushing their own agenda?

All I see here, in this forum, is appeal to the difficulty of experimentation. If the original single experiment is so hard or expensive to reproduce, should we be basing our conclusions on the single experiment?

Scientists need to kick it up a notch.

(*) As a typical example (dozens more are easy to find), Helicobacter pylori was identified as the source of gastric ulcers, yet the medical community didn't believe the results for many years. The amount of suffering and loss that occurred while this "school of thought" was slowly overturned is incalculable.

Comment: Re:No Leaders anywhere today... (Score 1) 348

by Okian Warrior (#47873905) Attached to: When Scientists Give Up

So the question isn't really one of giving up... the question is one of choice and priority. If you have no vision and no real sense of purpose beyond enriching yourself when you occupy a position of influence, then the rot will spread and not just Scientists but many others will wither away as well.

I'm starting a new movement "The Boot Party": everyone promises to vote *against* the incumbent regardless of political party.

Government not acting in the interests of the people? Give 'em the boot!

Won't you join me?

Comment: The obvious solution (Score 4, Insightful) 348

by Okian Warrior (#47873695) Attached to: When Scientists Give Up

The obvious solution is to return to traditional methods: establish an independent income, then take up scientific research as a hobby.

Historically, our most notable scientists were working at day jobs or otherwise independently wealthy, and did amazing research on their own as a hobby. Some devoted entire wings of their house towards scientific research, amassing a collection of equipment (or specimens) over decades.

Henry Cavendish, of the Cavendish experiment, is one such example. The experiment was so delicate that air currents would affect the measurements, so Cavendish set up the experiment in a shed on his property and measured the results from a distance, using a telescope.

There used to be a term "Gentleman Scientist" for this, but it might more accurately be called "self-funded research".

Consider Paul Stamets as a modern example. With only an honorary doctorate, he is co-author on many papers and has proposed several medications, including treatments for cancer.

I could also nominate Robert Murray Smith to the position. His YouTube Videos are as good as many published Chemistry papers.

The benefits are obvious: You get to work on whatever you think is interesting (or fruitful), you can set your own pace, and you can draw your own line between supporting your dreams and your lifestyle: If you have a family emergency, you can pause your research and spend more money on personal welfare. It also forces you to come up with more efficient (read: less expensive) ways to work.

There's a wealth of useful equipment on eBay and other places, big expensive equipment is not out of the reach of the dedicated researcher. Ben Krasnow has three (I think) electron microscopes. I personally own a UV/VIS spectrophotometer. a microgram scale, and a Weston cell.

The idea that "research can only be done at the behest of government" or "is only associated with university" is a modern fiction. Government would *like* you to believe that everything depends on their whim and largesse, but it's not the only, nor even the best way.

Build a lab and start tinkering, or join a hackerspace. Lots of people do it. Lots of good science is done this way.

Comment: the feet of a duck (Score 2) 147

by TheRealHocusLocus (#47870105) Attached to: Restoring Salmon To Their Original Habitat -- With a Cannon

I suspended the feet of a duck in an aquarium

From these humblest origins of freight -- where the simple brain of a duck determines terminus loci -- human kind has leveraged the Duck Foot Apparatus into a vast global network with computer-optimized logistics management. Producers and shippers of commodities no longer need to wait until they are stepped on or eaten by a duck. This confers numerous advantages for cargo weight and scheduling and the ability to choose destination.

Early inventors believed you merely needed to graft duck feet onto Medieval torture devices to harness the abilities of ducks. In the Wright Brothers' first aircraft design running duck feet gathered the seeds of grass and mosses during takeoff. The goose neck trailer arose from early attempts to shove large volumes of freight down the neck of a beheaded goose, until it was discovered that large swinging doors in back facilitate deeper penetration and ease of loading.

Anyway, "the rest is history", and what the hell does that mean?? From milligrams to mega tonnes, the modern network of Things That Do Duck Things though they no longer resemble ducks carries invasive species to every "corner" of the globe. And what the hell does that mean??

Ocean shipping networks carry so much freight you can see their routes arching and sagging on this map. This is partially offset by the buoyant effect of air cargo.

To those of us old enough to remember air travel in the bowels of fowls, what a marvel modern transportation is indeed.

Comment: Re:NSA and the Desolation of Smaug (Score 1) 199

by TheRealHocusLocus (#47815339) Attached to: First US Appeals Court Hears Arguments To Shut Down NSA Database

They used FLOWERS???
Or did you mean germanium?

OOPS yeah thanks. Only Elvish tech uses certain flowers and essential oils because the scents stir their shared cultural memory, traverse the elf blood brain barrier easily and allow them to perceive history as one glorious song. Selective cultivation over eons has allowed elves to tailor flower DNA to store their herd memory in complex organic molecules. Either that or the tales were written into flowers all along and the elves adopted that story as their own, who can say.

Other hominids lack these specific receptors so it can come across as a dull throbbing headache, low rushing sound or whispering voices. If you hear voices in elevators and hallways it is likely that elvish tech is used in the building. Elvetech should always be used with adequate ventilation.

Comment: While we're at it... CLIP 'n FLIP? (Score 1) 161

by TheRealHocusLocus (#47815271) Attached to: New HTML Picture Element To Make Future Web Faster

Where one can specify a X1Y1+WIDTHHEIGHT region of the image and that, not the full image, becomes what is actually rendered or stretched by the element.

And if either the X and/or Y have a MINUS sign, then the same absolute coordinates are used -- but also the presence of the sign causes the browser to FLIP the image horizontally, vertically or both. This deals with the case of mirror elements.

Modern web pages are full of small design elements such as bits of custom corners, tiles that are stretched horizontally and vertically and small recurring icons and pieces that are common to many pages. There can be dozens of these unique elements all told.

Wouldn't it be nice if only ONE image that has been carefully crafted to contain these rectangular regions, is loaded to the client, thus keeping all these bits and pieces from spamming the world's server logs and keepalive sessions?

Yes one can do something like this active scripting and with layers and canvas, but putting clip'n'flip into a newly designed PICTURE tag would achieve what I've been suggesting since... 1995. It would give me personal closure. It would make me feel needed.

Debug is human, de-fix divine.

Working...